The Religious Freedom Restoration Act coming out of Indiana has been ruffling feathers all over the country for the last week or so.
One of the great aspects of our government and our culture is the freedom to think and believe as we see fit. Even if what we think and believe is contrary to our neighbor’s thoughts and beliefs.
The grey area in this topic comes into play when we add in the idea of one group feeling discriminated against by another group.
Before I go any further, I need to state that I am not and I have never been a business owner.
That does not mean that I agree with the ideas that are attached to this specific piece of legislation. If a business owner refuses to provide a product or a service because the customer is part of the LGBTQ community, that is their right. As some of my readers know, I have a professional background in customer service. A negative review or opinion of the business can sometimes travel faster and farther than a positive review or opinion of the business. If one customer is turned away or feel discriminated against, that could possibly create a ripple effect, which could end up hurting more people than the individual customer.
At the end of the day, no law can force a business owner to serve a customer. It is the right of the business owner to tell the customer that for whatever reasons they have, they will not be able to assist them.
But that does not mean that turning down the business will help the business owner either.
I’m going to end with a short clip from last weekend’s Saturday Night Live, which as always, hits the nail on the head every time.
Conal O’Rourke, an accountant from Northern California used to be a Comcast customer. When he became unhappy with the service, he tried to reach out to customer service to resolve the issue. His employer happens to work with Comcast. To make a long story short, Mr. O’Rourke is now unemployed and blames Comcast for his firing. You can read the details here.
Before I go any further, I have to make two points:
- I have never been a Comcast customer, so I cannot personally vouch for how good or bad their service is.
- The only mistake Mr. O’Rourke might have made is to use company equipment to contact Comcast. Most companies frown upon employees using company equipment for personal business.
I have been in the customer service industry long enough to know that the customer is not always right. That does not mean that the best way to deal with a dissatisfied and emotional customer is to ignore them. The best way to deal with an angry customer is to try to nip in the bud before it blows up. If the issue cannot be nipped in the bud, then the customer must be dealt with in a professional and mature manner to create a satisfactory ending that hopefully works for both the company and the customer.
I also know enough to know that if there are many complaints about the company and they sound alike, it is probably symptomatic of a larger issue that management is not addressing.
I don’t blame Mr. O’Rourke for using his internal contacts to get the issue resolved. I might have done the same thing, had I been in his shoes.
Is the customer always right? Yes and no. Each situation is different. But it is the approach that the company takes to resolve the issue that will make or break the results.